Compassion. I am sitting at the table in the kitchen and my husband walks into the room rubbing his eyes. I’m tired today, he moans. I am reading something, but in a split second I make the decision to stop. He’s weary. The day-to-day demands can make us weary. I stand up and give him a gentle hug, and he leans into being held.

Compassion. An eight-year old at the school where I work comes into the library and stands near me, while I am straightening some books on a shelf. She is very quiet, looking downward at her sneakers. Her classmates are at a table making a poster for the school read-a-thon. “Do you want to help them,” I say to her. Tears roll down her cheeks. She leans into my arms and cries for a few minutes before  telling me what’s the matter.

Compassion. My body is heavy with fatigue. I go for a swim. Rather than pushing myself to go fast, or do so many laps, I go slow. I treat myself with compassion,   listening and responding to myself. The gentle strokes are soothing and soon my body feels lighter and more relaxed.

Compassion. How can you give it? How can you receive it?